Global hunger and population displacement, which were already at record levels when COVID-19 struck, could “surge” as migrants and those reliant on a dwindling flow of remittances desperately seek work to support their families, a new UN report has warned.
In Populations at risk: Implications of COVID-19 for hunger, migration and displacement, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) urged the global community to step up support for the immediate and rising humanitarian needs, as well as addressing the pandemic’s fallout, especially on the most vulnerable.
At the same time, disruptions to seasonal agricultural work could hit the production, processing and distribution of food, affecting food availability and affordability at local and regional levels. Protect the most vulnerable WFP and IOM urged the international community to ensure that every effort is made to limit the immediate impact on the most vulnerable, while ensuring longer term investments for a pathway to recovery. They outlined eight priority actions, which include ensuring access to humanitarian assistance for migrants facing acute hardship; safeguarding support for the displaced and their host communities; securing access to critical services and inclusive information for all mobile and displaced populations; and facilitating remittance flow as an essential financial service.
They also highlighted the need to recognize the positive contributions of migrants and to promote their inclusion in social protection systems; ensure their access to legal services; counter xenophobia, stigmatization and discrimination towards people on the move; and improve data and analysis to better understand the dynamics between the pandemic, and mobility, remittances and food security.